Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mountain of Forgotten Books

In preparation for my fast approaching (four short weeks away!) to Spain, I have been making plans to lighten my load, literally... this will be the first time I'm traveling for an extended period of time with only a carry on luggage. I will be traveling to multiple cities and staying in apartments that actually have washing machines. Couple those facts with the fact that I live in perpetual fear of losing my luggage (my underwear, mostly) it makes zero sense to bring luggage big enough to be checked and cumbersome enough to be dragged around. In keeping with the Rick Steves' guide to packing light, I'm giving this a go. And, in keeping with giving this a go, I have purchased a bluetooth keyboard with which I plan on blogging while traveling. I typed this entire paragraph using it. How does it look? How do you think my first foray into technological gadgetry went? I don't feel any different. Do I look different?

Now I am back on a regular desktop computer. It feels better but, like the wandering eyes of a long married woman, I know something else is out there; something convenient and a little different, maybe a little unpredictable and dangerous and that knowledge comforts me. I am a digital Eve, post biting the shiny, juicy apple (Apple?). Enough of all that.

My birthday came and went and I don't feel old but I'm not young anymore. I hate the constraints of getting older, especially when I feel identical to my 19 year old self, if a little more confident. I celebrated with a truly wonderful group of people eating truly wonderful food and drink. I saw this adorable band. I stayed up late into the night. I wore tulle. I think I might still be 19. With more creaking bones. (Sincerely, every time I shrug my shoulders, my neck cracks. Every time I get up from my chair, my knee pops...I'm a walking haunted house, without the interesting back story.)

And I spent the whole day yesterday(the actual day of my birthday) feeling ok and just totally normal. I thought about all the things I want to accomplish this year and before I reach the next milestone age in a scant three years. I felt so good, having been surrounded by people I love, doing things I love all weekend and was riding high on all of that for most of the day. There was even the discovery that a new natural food store opened up the street from my apartment and a reverie of bulgur wheat and farm fresh $5.00 cartons of eggs whirled through my head. I even ate an ice cream cone.

That was yesterday. Just now, I'm starting to find the dirt in my fries. It could just be the relentless drudgery of working but my mind set has done most of a 180. At the moment, two things are jutting through the marshmallow of my brain. Thing 1: The realization that I spend most of my shift at my part time job throwing books away. I understand why this has to happen but I cannot ignore that it is the antithesis of why I became a librarian. No matter that time and technology (see my bluetooth keyboard paragraph above) flood the world like the biggest tsunami that ever was or that the inevitability of the utter disappearance of physical books looms above my head on a daily basis as I grasp to the side of a mountain of forgotten books with a plastic fork as my grappling hook. It still feels unnatural to hold a book in my hands and make the choice to throw it out. It isn't even the trash I'm throwing out. It is the Rodin coffee table books, the African mask photography books, the Bahaus in America history books. This information exists within seconds with your smart phone, not that any of you are using it for that (nor am I) but this hurts and it happens every shift.

Thing 2: Earlier today I read about a "town" in China that was built in 2007 to resemble Paris, complete with a scaled down Eiffel Tower and a replica of the surrounding gardens. Apparently it was built to house up to 10,000 people and has, in recent times become a veritable ghost town. Putting aside the hollowed out sadness factor of ghost towns in general, my brain focuses on how this particular town couldn't even be a success at being a fake version of something else. I don't know what it is about this story but its very existence resonates with me. I feel an unassailable sympathy for trying to be something greater and then failing. I feel not unlike this boxer wearing man looks in this photo.

Apres nous, le deluge.

That I had such a blissful weekend, I suppose the crappiness I feel today only further enforces the notion that you must take a spoonful of  medicine with your sugar. But the good news is that if I want it to, tomorrow can be all beer and cheeses. Wahoo.


  1. I think the flip side of weeding is that there is a lot of truly superfluous stuff out there, including, sadly, books. People who value the information you're tasked with discarding will preserve it; if no one preserves something, is it worth preserving? I don't know. But we wouldn't have to get rid of things if we didn't have so damn much of everything.
    Happy belated birthday. I think I missed it going by on Facebook. It sounds like you had a great time!

    1. I know you make complete sense and you are right...a lot of the stuff we inexplicably have is not worth preserving. I think it is more the physical act of withdrawing a book that feels wrong anyway!
      Thank you for the birthday wishes!